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Does Stress Make You Lose Your Teeth?

The signs that stress may be affecting your dental health.

Stress is a strange thing, it can cause us lots of undue worry and make our daily relationships quite strained. Unfortunately, it can also lead to a number of health issues. Last year, Demi Moore reportedly lost her two front teeth as a result of stress and this has sparked a number of discussions around this very topic since then.

Stress can do a lot of bad things to your body, from back ache to missed periods, so it is important to recognise when it is affecting you and your physical wellbeing in negative ways – including when it comes to your teeth. So, here is what you need to know when it comes to stress and your teeth.

Root Cause of Tooth Damage/Loss

At its heart, tooth loss comes as a result of gum disease. If left untreated or the case becomes severe enough the tooth can become loose and eventually fall out. Decay is also another key factor in tooth loss, as if the damage is extensive enough there may be no other option but to remove the tooth.

Stress can lead to tooth decay and gum disease in a number of ways, particularly as it inevitably lowers the ability of your immune system and actually creates inflammation in the body. The lower your immune system and increased inflammation cause the gum disease and rot, which grow worse the further untreated they go. This then further increases your chance of tooth loss also.

Furthermore, stress can be an overwhelming feeling. To the point where you may not be putting the proper amount of care or attention upon yourself. This may lead to a loss or diminishing in upkeeping your oral health care routine. Or even eating more and more foods which contribute to poor health for our teeth. Cavities and plaque build up as a result of this and lead to tooth loss as a result of both decay and gingivitis.

Ultimately, stress can exacerbate issues which otherwise would be dealt with much faster if you were in a less stressed situation. Recognising and understanding this is the first step to avoiding the issue in the first place.

Signs to Look Out For

As gum disease is the number one cause of tooth loss, you will often find that this is the reason that you begin to have dental problems as a cause of stress. Especially as stress is a contributing issue to gum disease. Some of the more obvious signs of stress affecting your teeth and causing gum disease can include:

  • Aching Jaw – soreness or even clicking in your jaw can be a sure sign of stress. To recover from this you may need a specialist splint or even Botox, which can be used to help relax the muscle.

  • Abscesses – stress can often prevent the body from fighting infections in an efficient manner. Which can then lead to problems such as dental abscesses. In most cases, you will need to undergo a course of antibiotics in order to be rid of the abscess.

  • Bad Breath – bad breath can be an obvious sign of stress. Feelings of stress can easily cause your stomach acids to build up and lead to reflux, which then causes bad breath. Antacids or other medication may be needed in order to treat this issue, though it is best to speak to your doctor in either case.

  • Cheek Biting – for some people, the habit of cheek biting builds up as a result of stress in their lives as a coping method. The wounds created from this habit can easily lead to infection and issues for your mouth which can then culminate in tooth loss.

On the whole, although it is possible to help restore your teeth and even replace them entirely in the case of denture implants, ideally you want to avoid tooth loss altogether. Being able to recognise the signs, taking care of your oral health and regular visits to the dentist are the only way to properly avoid such risks to your dental hygiene. 

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